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Is it wrong for NRA to drag Obama's daughters into gun-control fight? (+video)

Amid discussion in Washington of new gun-control measures, the NRA releases an online ad that cites the Secret Service protection of Sasha and Malia Obama as an example of how President Obama is a 'hypocrite' on guns.

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Actually, “inflame opponents” might be underplaying it. “Make them apoplectic” might be more accurate. As the respected Ron Fournier of National Journal writes Wednesday, “The ad is indisputably misleading, and is arguably a dangerous appeal to the base instincts of gun-rights activists.”

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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There’s a good reason the president’s family has armed protection, after all: Unlike most people in America, they are the subject of constant and credible death threats. Their protection consists not of an armed school guard but highly trained teams of agents who practice constantly and know when to act and, perhaps more important, when not to react.

As maverick conservative David Frum points out in The Daily Beast, the NRA’s guard-in-every-school idea would require about 150,000 armed guards to protect 75 million students for 200 days a year. It is easy to envision the mistakes that could occur just because of the scale of this coverage and the fact that these guards would not be Secret Service-level trained.

Plus, schools are far from the only place where mass shootings occur.

“Second: even if the idea were a good one, the NRA’s sneering references to the president’s family are beyond the pale,” Mr. Frum writes.

Obama and his family have long been charged with “uppityism,” says Frum, meaning the NRA’s ad verges on using racially coded language.

“This latest attack ad looks to many like only one more attempt to enflame an ancient American wound,” according to Frum.

The NRA has said it has gained 250,000 more members in recent weeks as Washington has discussed new gun-control measures, and this new ad may be aimed more at keeping that rolling than at actually affecting policy. On the NRA’s website, the new ad is surrounded by bids to “sign up to stand and fight” and “sign up for the latest updates here.”

This is standard Washington procedure for many big interest groups: Take advantage of controversy to keep the group itself as big and wealthy as possible.

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